Tag Archives: inspiration

7 Days of Motivation…. well, some weeks you need it more than others

1- MondayHappy Tuesday, everyone! Start your day with these tuesday funny quotes3- Wednesday4 Thursday5 Friday6 Saturday7 Sunday

 

and breathe ….. whatever it is that you are going through –

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(Images sourced via Google – credits to the owners)

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Define Success……. Go On I Dare You To…

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Like many indie authors and bloggers I have “liked” and “joined” numerous….ok countless….author and book promotion Facebook groups and pages. I use these as a means to promote my author page, this blog and my book babies and very rarely comment on any discussion style posts.

Recently one caught my attention… “Do we have anyone in here with a lot of success?”

Initially I read it and scrolled on…. but it was bugging me….so I scrolled backup and replied.

“Define success? It means something different to each of us. If you mean “Do I feel I have succeeded with my writing?” then the answer is “yes” as I have told folk a story that entertained them and caused an emotional response. If you quantify success as hard cash then you’re in the wrong game. There’s more to life than money when there’s a story to be told.”

My response was well received by other members of the group.

And I stand by what I said.

It took me a long time to think of my writing as being successful in any shape or form. Self-publishing my first novel in 2015 was a surreal experience. It took me so far out of my comfort zone! Even having published three more novels, it still feels surreal.  Seeing my name on the cover of those books feels like a dream I am about to be rudely awakened from. However, as time has passed, I’ve come to realise that I’ve achieved something pretty special. Well, it’s pretty special to me.

How many people can say they’ve seen one of their lifelong dreams come true?

I can and that genuinely makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside. Makes me feel successful in my own quiet way.

I’ve been incredibly fortunate that no one yet has said my book babies are ugly. Seeing them sitting on Amazon.co.uk with lots of twinkling stars and multiple reviews makes me feel proud of what I’ve achieved (with the love and support of my Infamous Five and my cavalry) Seeing them with stars and reviews on Amazon.com, which is such a huge arena, blows my mind. It makes me feel successful in my own quiet way.

You can’t put a price on the emotions you experience when someone tells you they’ve loved your book and that it’s evoked an emotional response whether it be laughter or tears. Feedback like that is truly priceless.

If indie authors and bloggers were in it purely for the money, there wouldn’t be many of us left. FACT!

Let’s be honest, unless you strike it really lucky and your work lands before the right person at the right time and catches their eye then, chances are you’re not making a huge income, if any. I half-joked when I published my first novel that I hoped to earn enough to cover my concert ticket budget. My royalties come nowhere near to covering it! Most months they would barely cover the cost of a couple of coffees.

Authors are storytellers. We write to tell the story that’s grown inside us. At the risk of sounding cheesy for a minute, writing is a passion and I’ve always maintained that as soon as I stop feeling the love for it, I’ll stop.

But, do people realise the length of time it takes to pull an article/blog together or the number of hours of work a short story requires? Or the hundreds of hours a novel requires?

I’ll use this blog as an example and it’s not a long piece. It has taken me roughly an hour to write and re-draft and it’s taken another hour or so to type and re-draft again then say it will take ten minutes to publish it. That’s about 2-3 hours work. And guess what – it doesn’t earn me any royalties?

Last week, I published a short story on this blog page.  The word count was roughly 4000 words. It took me about four hours to write it. It took another couple to re-draft it, another couple to type it then fifteen minutes to post it. Let’s call it eight hours of work. And guess what – that didn’t earn me any royalties either.

Novels take months of effort. I really should take note of the time spent writing, typing, editing etc one of these days. All in all, it’s probably about four hours of work in total per thousand words ( rough guesstimate). My novels so far have ranged from 107000 words to 186 000 words. Let’s do the maths – that gives us about 428 -744 hours of work and that’s before you factor in the time to design the cover, the time my alpha readers (my Infamous Five) and my beta readers (the cavalry) donate and the time to upload the file to Amazon for publication…… and then there’s marketing and promotion to be done…..

The current National Minimum Wage in the UK is £7.93 per hour.

If I had been paid that for writing Ellen, my latest and shortest novel, that would have earned me £3400 approximately. To date, Ellen has generated around £100 in royalties.

I personally don’t define success in respect of my writing in terms of hard cash. If it was about the money, I’d have closed over my notebook and put the lid back on my pen a long time ago.

Success for me is about seeing people enjoying what I write. It’s about folk saying I’ve made them laugh or cry. It’s about entertaining readers. It’s about telling the story and setting my characters free from my imagination.
So, next time you read over a short story in your lunchbreak or a blog post, pause to think of the time and effort that went into making it a success.

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(images sourced via Google – credits to the owners)

You know that one sound that grates on your very worst nerve…..

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I had a blog post written in my head and then I arrived home….

The Big Green Gummi Bear was in the midst of fixing our electric garage door. It had been sticking, so he was working “man magic” to ensure it runs smoothly.

For what felt like forever, he made it go up and down, up and down, up and down, up and down, up and down, up and down, up and down, up and down… In reality, this went on for about thirty or forty minutes. In reality, in the grand scheme of things, it’s not even a loud noise.

Indoors, I was slowly feeling my blood begin to boil as the incessant noise droned on and on and on and on…. I had my iPod playing reasonably loudly in the kitchen, filling the room with my preferred hard rock music (Disturbed on this occasion, in case you were curious) but my “bat hearing” was still detecting the drone of the garage door motor. In my head, it was drowning out all other more pleasing sounds.

There was no point in complaining to the BGGB or of saying anything to him when he finally stopped and came indoors. The issue here is mine and it’s literally all in my head.

Certain noises can quietly drive me almost insane if they go on long enough.

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There’s a few everyday culprits on the list :- the sound of the vacuum cleaner (worse if someone else is driving it), the kitchen extractor fan, hairdryers, certain types of music (think hard house nation, boom boom boom stuff, clubland mixes) some strong accents and the BGGB’s snoring and rattling breathing while he’s asleep.

There are probably a few more but I’m sure you’ve got the hint. Perhaps you’re even nodding in agreement.

I had always assumed it was me being intolerant even though I am a patient person by nature but then I stumbled across an article about noise and discovered that this reaction to noise had a name.

Misophonia.

 It literally translates into “hatred of sound” and is a recognised neurological disorder. It is also very common, more so among women, and is easy to cope with day to day in its mildest forms.

Now I don’t truly believe that I am any more sensitive to sounds than most people (perhaps I am, who knows!) but, as I’ve listed, there are certain trigger sounds that get on my very worst nerve!

The reaction they can trigger varies from mild irritation to annoyance to anger. From the research I’ve read, in its severest forms, Misphonia can trigger violent rages in sufferers. (The BGGB should be thankful that his “sleeping noises” don’t trigger such an extreme response and that all he usually endures is a poke to the ribs!) Other sufferers can experience anxiety and panic attacks triggered by everyday noises. As you can imagine, this has a detrimental effect on their quality of life.

If “eating noises” are a trigger, one of the most common recognised triggers, then life can quickly become quite restricted.

Doctors aren’t sure what causes Misophonia but have determined that its not linked to a person’s hearing or ears. Research so far has shown that it is part mental and part physical. The mental impact of the sound triggers a negative physical response eg anger. There is no known cure either at present.

For now, sufferers have to learn to live with the condition or develop their own coping strategies. CBT and hypnosis have been found to provide relief of the symptoms in some people.

For me, the answer is usually to drown the noise out with another more pleasing sound (cue louder rock music- sorry neighbours) or, where possible, to turn it off. (To be honest, I’d rather a cooking smell filled kitchen than have to endure the torture of the extractor fan over the cooker- fact!)

Sadly, most sufferers have to just grin and bear it and pray their trigger sound stops before their temper snaps.

Now that I’ve got you thinking….what noises get under your skin?

 For more information on Misophonia visit www.misophonia-uk.org

images sourced via Google

NaNoWriMo – when inspiration strikes.

November is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo).

The challenge is to commit to writing  50 000 words during the month of November.

I’ll be honest, I considered taking up the challenge then consulted my own planned writing schedule, my social calendar, my “real work” commitments and laughed….not a snowball’s hope in hell!

It has got me thinking though – seldom a good thing!

It’s got me thinking about the prompts that inspire people to write.

As I’m currently knee-deep in Book Baby 3, I don’t have a huge amount of time to write anything new but a part of me is already looking ahead. There’s this wee voice whispering in my ear, “What’s next?”

I have a reasonable idea of “what’s next” after Book Baby 3 and the prompts have come from the Silver Lake series (no more hints!)

However, what other prompts do writers use to trigger their creative juices?

If, like me, you follow some of the writing pages on social media, you will have seen that they have been flooded with well-intentioned prompts over the past few days.

 

There are whole websites dedicated to providing prompts for aspiring writers. There are literally thousands of inspirational ideas on Pinterest and Tumblr. There are apps available to download to your phone dedicated to prompts.

It would seem there’s a whole creative writing business that’s centred on providing assistance to generate more creative writing ideas.

I may use some of the prompts I’ve stumbled across recently at some point in the future. Never say never and all that.

Another method to prompt a tale or two is to keep a file of random photos. This was a method one of my high school English teachers used. He kept a manila folder full of magazine pictures, newspaper photos and postcards. Every now and again we were asked to pick one then go forth and write an essay inspired by it.

I used this method for a while and, in fact, only recently rediscovered my “inspiration folder” from twenty some years ago.

In recent years, I’ve used more personal prompts – song lyrics that struck a chord, memories of a particular place, throw away comments from friends. While I’d never deliberately create a fictional character that mirrors someone in my “real world”, there are character traits manifesting themselves in my book babies. My own character traits as well as those of friends and family. One example of that is Lori from the Silver Lake Series’ ideal breakfast of a toasted cinnamon raisin bagel, streaky bacon and coffee is my own personal favourite breakfast.

Daydreams also inspire some of my shorter pieces of fiction.

I guess that’s what makes someone a writer – not that I am claiming any great literary ability here, let’s get that straight.

I write primarily for enjoyment and relaxation. It is my stress reliever at the end of a day. It’s my escape from the real world. It’s a huge bonus if other people happen to enjoy the tales that I spin.

Now I wonder….can I squeeze in time to write 50 000 words of a new story by 30 November?……..

images source from Google

More information on NaNoWriMo can be found at http://www.nanowrimo.org

 

Searching in vain for inspiration

While I was out for a stroll in my lunch hour today, enjoying the beautiful spring sunshine, my mind was rapidly straying away from all thoughts of work towards this week’s blog post. A few potential topics drifted by but nothing was inspiring me. I stopped to watch the seabirds sitting out on the rocks at the mouth of the James Watt Dock but no inspirational thoughts came. (I did mutter under my breath yet again about how disobliging the cormorants were being – I am desperate to get a decent photograph of one of them drying its wings but, after more than a year of waiting and watching, I’m still waiting and watching for that shot!) A border of colourful spring flowers gave me a lovely photo for my Facebook wall but no blog thoughts. My ears were filled with music from my iPod but no flashes of inspiration from the tunes I was enjoying…. at least not thoughts I’m sharing on here!

Several hours later I drove home into the setting sun- a stunning sight as the sun set beyond the Argyll hills lighting up the sky with hues of red and orange. My mind was still thinking blog….. and then I remembered a poem I had written a while back.

The inspiration for it was a rock. A big long low red sandstone rock on the beach at Kilchattan Bay on the Isle of Bute. A rock I had played on for hours as a little girl during summer holidays and long autumn weekend visits. A rock that my imagination  transformed into the setting for many make believe games. Something simple yet inspiring.

Perhaps today I was over thinking this post. Perhaps I was looking at the world with my eyes and ears shut, despite enjoying the sights and sounds around me. It’s made me think…..

 

Day In The Life Of A Rock

Soft rays of morning sun

Not quite reaching the shore

The rock sits in silence

Waiting for someone to come and explore.

 

Stomping and mumbling

A boy stamps along

Shells crushing under his angry feet.

The rock looms large

And his bleak mood shifts.

A submarine! All his!

The rock is transformed by his play til midday.

 

Hot afternoon sun beats down on the rock

Along comes a girl

In her pretty summer frock.

“My fairy castle!” she cries.

With a skip and a dance

She enters the fairy world

Totally entranced.

The rock is transformed by her play

Til her mother’s call breaks the spell.

 

The sun sets with a warm rosy glow.

I sit on the rock

Feeling it’s warmth rising inside me.

My space. My sanctuary.

My time to play

As the sun sinks down on another magical day

 

That elusive hour – have you seen it?

How hard is it to take an hour or two out of the day just for yourself?

I’m not necessarily meaning an hour to do nothing. In this case it was time to write the next blog and to begin work on the third part of The Imp (which is still in the pen.)

This week it has been nigh on impossible and I even had two days holiday from work which in theory should have made it easier.

Someone is definitely stealing hours out of my day when I’m not in the office.

Let’s start at last weekend- it was more or less a creative write off. A sleepover for seven hormonal screaming teenage girls put paid to the majority of it. You couldn’t hear yourself think in here at times! The remainder of Sunday and Monday disappeared under a huge mountain of laundry – the washing machine had died the previous Wednesday and its replacement arrived to a warm welcome on Saturday afternoon. Cue several days of washing and the house smelling like “the steamie” as I tried to get it all dried and ironed.

For a short while Monday night was looking hopeful but, no, it was interrupted by having to chauffeur Girl Child home from a friend’s house at the opposite side of town.

Tuesday  had already been pre-planned and I spent a lovely few hours catching up with a friend over coffee and lunch. On the drive home (I only got lost once) the weather closed in and, by the time I reached home, there was a pleading message from Girl Child looking for a lift home. Cue another fourteen mile round trip to collect her.

I had just settled down thinking that finally I had found the elusive hour when Boy Child messaged me looking for a lift home from the station. Cue another five mile round trip in sleet and snow to rescue him.

Wednesday saw me back at work. Thursday was Girl Child’s birthday so that obviously took priority for the evening. It was worth it to see the look on her face when she received her gifts.

Valentine’s Day, Friday, dawned and, after a busy day at the salt mine, I headed home to cook dinner and to do more laundry- where does it all come from? After a “romantic family meal for four plus cat” the Big Green Gummi Bear and Boy Child retired to the living room to watch a DVD (Planet of the Apes in case you were wondering). Girl Child slipped back into her bat cave.

I’d finally found my elusive hour!

I poured glass of wine, fetched my notebook and pen and settled myself in the warmth of the kitchen with my iPod. Bliss for a whole fifteen minutes then the cat came and sat on my notebook, purring pleadingly for attention.

I surrendered.

If any of you ever find my elusive “hour to myself without interruption” can you please wrap it up carefully and mail it to me. It’s a very precious thing.